Chapter

The Three- and Four-Movement Sonata Cycle

James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy

in Elements of Sonata Theory

Published in print August 2006 | ISBN: 9780195146400
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199850983 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195146400.003.0015
The Three- and Four-Movement Sonata Cycle

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Sense of cycling coherence is assisted by focusing on the demonstrable relationship among the movements, and some relevant factors can be dealt with apart from an examination of individual content. William S. Newman noted that multimovement sonatas in the decades before and around 1800 normally contained two, three, or four movements, the most common being three. It appears to have been a correlation between the number of movements in a keyboard sonata and the seriousness of the work, at least when the number deviated away from the standard three. Some say that the four-movement sonatas were more ambitious, particularly toward the end of the century, but most composers preferred the two-movement like Haydn, whose piano sonatas are in the two-movement sonata.

Keywords: sonata; two-movement; coherence; factors; keyboard; movements

Chapter.  17004 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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